Earlier this month, the for-profit Corinthian Colleges was slapped with a $30 million fine by the U.S. Department of Education, from which it could not financially recover.
The day after the schools abruptly closed, thousands of students in certificate programs ranging from massage therapy to cosmetology to dental assistants were left wondering what they would do next.
Terry Morales went to Everest College Monday morning to pick up her daughter's diploma, but the doors were locked and the greeting was not very welcoming, as she was told she needed to stay off the steps of the building.
Morales said her daughter received her medical assistant certificate here after nine months of schooling, but she never got her diploma.
"She got lucky. She found a job but many of her classmates did not. They are out of jobs, too," she said.
In Ontario, students waited outside the Everest Metro campus where they learned they will never get back into the classroom here.
Security guards screened everyone coming and going. A total of 28 campuses across five states are out of business, affecting 16,000 students.
The U.S. Department of Education accused Corinthian of making false hiring claims to potential students, students who would finance loans that were making up 85 percent of the organization’s profit.
In a letter to its students, the Santa Ana-based company said it had tried to sell its remaining schools, also known as Heald College and Wyotech, but blamed regulators for imposing too many financial penalties.
"Now I can't pick up my diploma. I can't even walk inside," said former student Gary Montano.
On its website Corinthian lists hundreds of schools where students may be able to transfer their school credits.
It's clear they won't be going back to the existing campuses, as locks were changed Monday afternoon.
There is some concern that credits won’t transfer, because the training may be different at every school, and that there are no guarantees those credits will transfer.
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The Department of Consumer Affairs will hold meetings with students Tuesday.